Barker’s challenge to axed troops

Pompey defender Sonny Bradley Picture: Joe Pepler
Pompey defender Sonny Bradley Picture: Joe Pepler

RICHIE BARKER has laid down the challenge to his axed quintet to regain their starting spots.

The Pompey boss rang the changes against Accrington in the wake of the 5-1 hammering at Scunthorpe last weekend.

And he was rewarded for shaking things up with five changes with a 1-0 success at Fratton Park.

Sonny Bradley, Jed Wallace, Thery Racon, Andy Barcham and Marcos Painter were the players to miss out.

Barker expected there to be frustration among the five but praised their professionalism on Tuesday night.

Now he wants to see their desire to regain a place in the starting line-up.

Barker said: ‘There were a few disgruntled players.

‘I want people who are disappointed to be left out.

‘If you aren’t disappointed when you are left out you are in the wrong place.

‘If you aren’t disappointed, that means you don’t want to play football.

‘I want people who aren’t happy about it.

‘I have to say, though, there was no sulking from the players.

‘Now the challenge for them is to get back into the team.’

After publically criticising his players and making big changes, there were worries, in some quarters, about how they would react to Barker.

He promised he was unconcerned.

‘It can become poisonous if it’s not managed in the correct way,’ said Barker.

‘If you don’t have the right people and it’s not done right from the top, it can be.

‘But it’s never gone that way with me and I don’t want it to. If you handle it in the right way and treat them as mature, adult human beings you’ll get the respect back.’